PR | Three steps that businesses MUST take to protect their customers, staff and stakeholders in 2018

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The European Union has designed the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to help strengthen data protection for all people within the EU, and I’d be very surprised if you weren’t aware that the deadline for compliance is fast arriving on 25 May 2018.

In 2018, the integrity of your business will rely on how securely and transparently you handle data, and with extreme financial penalties being warned for data breaches – examining your data processes as a business has never been so important. Businesses will need to make changes fast or seek alternative solutions.

In my first Pulse article, I want to outline the 3 steps that must be taken to protect personal information in light of the GDPR and how cloud computing with an ISO 27001 certified cloud provider could be the safest option for a reputable business.

Step 1: Secure all data

It’s doubtful that any business will take data protection lightly, however, the GDPR calls for more formalised information security management.

Robust processes and tight protocols are required for any form of “data processing”, which is defined in the regulation as “obtaining, recording or holding the information or data, or carrying out any operation or set of operations on the information or data.”

Your business’ systems need to be designed for data protection, with rigorous security testing undertaken on a regular basis. Third party transfer agreements need to be scrutinised and transparent processes must be in place for consumers to access, amend and restrict their personal data.

By partnering with an ISO 27001 certified cloud provider, businesses that operate virtually via hosted cloud applications will need no preparation. While there has been recent scaremongering around security in the cloud, the international certification scheme ISO 27001 is an expert assessment of GDPR compliance. Business leaders, in particular, can rest assured that a certified cloud provider has complete accountability for data protection and is effectively managing information security risks on their behalf.

Step 2: Comply with regulations

To be able to pledge GDPR compliance, your business in its entirety must be aligned with the necessary code of conduct and procedures to protect the personal data of customers, which takes more than a few changes in technology.

Depending on the scale of data processing in your business, compliance can require the redesign of infrastructure, process change and thorough staff training. For example, team members must know how to identify threats that can affect personal data or they put your business at risk of a potential financial penalty of 4% of annual turnover.

ISO 27001 certified cloud providers have been formally planning for GDPR since 2016, however, the six core principles have always underpinned cloud operations. Teams are fully briefed and well-trained in spotting data breaches, with the appropriate technologies and controls in place to manage risks

IS0 27001 and G Cloud certified my company Atlas Cloud is frequently tested on how we manage hosted applications on behalf of SMEs and large organisations – ensuring that all of our IT solutions and practises safely adhere to the strict data requirements set out in the GDPR. Our contracts and codes of conducts will always reflect international law, which is why UK Government, Sage PLC, Capita and Arcadis trust in our services.

Step 3: Ensure business continuity  

While your business must change to be compliant behind the scenes; your customers, staff, and stakeholders will expect nothing less than business as usual. For this, businesses will need a strategy in place to manage and monitor change, with systems being constantly reviewed and updated for continual improvement.

Keep in mind; the resources that you apply to becoming GDPR compliant must not affect the level of service that you offer your customers, nor hinder the agility and innovative thinking that gives your business competitive advantage.

The benefits of partnering with a certified cloud provider is that through bespoke consultancy and scalable IT solutions, providers can modernise and mobilise businesses behind the scenes – taking care of GDPR compliance – so that business leaders and managers can focus on the future.

Regardless of the upcoming GDPR, many businesses are now turning to cloud computing with growth and cost efficiencies in mind. Enterprises can store and access data (and programs) in a safe and standardised way, while staff can work remotely across the world, unbound by office walls and unaffected by regulatory changes.

If your business is underprepared for GDPR, which comes into play on 25 May 2018, it’s time to think and act fast or turn to a certified cloud provider to do the thinking and acting for you.

If your business is already partnered with a cloud supplier, check that your partner is GDPR compliant in the interest of your people and your customers.

Remember, your business’ reputation is at stake.

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